The bad news
Getting young people involved in ministry is not such an easy feat these days. There are so many distractions for young people that working for free seems low down on their list of ‘to do’s.
It is not about being lazy or even greedy. It is that College OR Young people have so much to do already with coursework, exams, study, making and losing friends and so on.
Gail Devers is motivational for someone who’s entering a new phase of life. College life comprises crucial years of one’s life.
A person experiences innumerable experiences, and a whirlpool of emotions in their college life. There are so many decisions waiting to be made. Traversing the difficult path from child to adult is a dauting task.
One of the many important decisions for a college student to make is to decide which church he associates himself to. Amidst all important decisions, most of the students drop the opportunity to get attached to any church. They miss the chance to deliver their service to local bodies of Christ.
The good news
Churches themselves have a great opportunity to accept students into their Ministry at the start of the semesters. It’s incredible to realize that students want to be a part of something that is ‘bigger than themselves’
As Lori Hatcher said, ‘Ministry’s not an option for a Christian; it’s a privilege’, surely that’s true and part of a bigger process. The good thing about these students is how they want to devote themselves to the ministry’s mission and are not wasting their time.
We need to think ways of presenting ministry as a useful tool and aid not only in their religious life, but also on their everyday life.
Now the question is, in what ways a college student can get involved in Church Ministry?
I’ll pen down 5 ways below.
Gain knowledge and experience from students who are already part of the Church. Sit with them, learn about their experience. Intentional engaging will help you gradually notice their gifts and activities.
Help the students to find their exceptional capabilities and guide them about the Church. Encourage them, invest in them, and don’t restrict them. Let them be curious and explore.
Encourage and Appreciate:
There would be times when the students will be going through hard days and might not be able to take time out for the Church. They might not be able to remain connected with the Church regularly. Times like these, you should encourage them from more often.
Encouragement would mean a lot to their emotional and psychological well-being.
During tough times, even the smallest appreciation serves as a great relief for a person. Encourage them on their smallest achievements, this will indirectly also inspire them to devote themselves to the Church.
A ‘test-drive’ for the new members can help them understand better. Members of the ministry should engage in friendly conversation with the new members.
Take students out for meet-ups and lunch, it’s best to get to know them. Introduce the students to the Pastor and invite them to meet him. Ask them questions related to their major, hobbies, interest, or general life events. This will give them the notion that you care.
Church Retreats are a great way to involve the young. Young people enjoy changing their scenery and being challenged by new concepts, as long as they are not made to look like fools.
There are many to choose from, but as an example Orange retreats are based in Florida. Who does not like sunshine and orange juice? Young and old love Florida, so trying to host a retreat here would be an easy start.
Make sure there are lots of exciting and youthful pursuits.
Church – A sanctuary:
I’ve some amazing Churches near me and I encourage students to find such retreats near them as well. Show students how church life can be balanced with the daily routine. Emphasize the fact that Christianity is a way of life and not just about church. The church is a great place to reconnect and revitalize.
We need to be able to open our doors more often, but that also takes staff to ensure no theft or vandalism happens while our doors are open.
Why do they need to be open? Because, accessibility to our sacred and wonderfully relaxing spaces should be something we share freely. How can we expect people to come to US and to HIM if we are not open for them?